The Blehgauer is a rare species of raptor, native to the Black Forest region of southern Germany. The earliest records existing of them were left by the Romans, who noted that Arminius and his tribe used them as scouts. Attempts by the Romans to domesticate them over the ensuing centuries failed miserably, but the dream of doing so became a part of Western military culture. The Burgundians, and later the Carolingians, also carried on experiments with the birds, but to no avail.
It was rumoured that the Knights Templar had succeeded in domesticating the Blehgauer, just as it was rumoured that many of the Templars escaped to Scotland after their suppression in France. The fact that the first verified use of them militarily was by Scots forces a few decades after the Templar suppression tends to support both these rumours – it is speculated that the missing ingredient to taming these birds of prey may have been a good single malt.
From there, the use of the birds evolved over the years, with a greater emphasis on falconry and the use of the birds as sentries. As various groups of Scots emigrated in the successive centuries, colonies of the Blehgauer – spelled Blairgower by the Scots – went with them. By the mid-Nineteenth century, colonies of them were extent in Ireland, Canada, the Confederate States of America, and Australia. But attempts to plant a colony on the Australian mainland failed again and again, although each time they moved a little further south in search of conditions more like those of Scotland. The final mainland attempt to create such a colony – a Blairgowrie, as the Scots called them – took place on the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne. It was abandoned within five years, after the birds escaped (they were later found to be nesting in the west of Tasmania).
Suburbs near Blairgowrie: